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Recap: Mystics steamroll Sparks, strengthen hold on No. 1 overall seed

The Washington Mystics blew out the Los Angeles Sparks in a game with major playoff implications. Meanwhile, the Connecticut Sun remain hot on Washington’s heels, and the Minnesota Lynx will officially be back in the playoffs for a ninth straight season.

Los Angeles Sparks v Washington Mystics
Natasha Cloud scored 15 points and racked up 6 assists for the Mystics, who improved to a WNBA-best 22-8.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Tuesday night’s ESPN2-televised game between the Washington Mystics and Los Angeles Sparks figured to be a good one. The Mystics stand atop the WNBA standings with just a few games remaining in the regular season, and this was perfect opportunity for the third-place Sparks to gain some ground.

Washington would be having none of that. The Mystics demolished the Sparks 95-66, improving to 22-8 on the season and putting themselves in prime position for a top-two finish in the standings.

So lopsided was the game (the Mystics led by as many as 40 points) that Washington’s bench contributed nearly as much scoring as its starters; Aerial Powers was the team’s leading scorer with 20 points, while Emma Meesseman chipped in 12. Even Shey Peddy — who is currently playing on a seven-day contract — saw 10 solid minutes of court time.

The Sparks, meanwhile, struggled to manufacture much offense after the first quarter. LA shot just 3-for-21 from three-point range and recorded more turnovers than assists. Chelsea Gray and Candace Parker led the Sparks with 12 points apiece while Maria Vadeeva paced their bench with 10, but it wasn’t nearly enough to match Washington’s balanced, efficient attack.

Up next

The Sparks head to Indiana to play the Fever on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7:00 p.m. ET (League Pass).

The Mystics will play the Wings in Dallas on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 8:00 p.m. ET (NBA TV).

Tuesday’s other action

Indiana Fever 86, Las Vegas Aces 71

Another monster stat line from rookie center Teaira McCowan (24 points, 17 rebounds, 5 blocks) was the highlight of this upset. The Fever never trailed in the game, while the Aces mustered just a 37.3 percent effective field goal percentage.

Phoenix Mercury 95, New York Liberty 82

Diana Taurasi is still getting her legs back after a lengthy absence, but that wasn’t a problem for the Mercury in this one. Brittney Griner and Leilani Mitchell scored 29 points apiece for Phoenix, who used a 19-13 fourth quarter to seal the deal.

Minnesota Lynx 93, Chicago Sky 85

The Lynx improved to 3-0 on the season against Chicago, led by double-doubles from Sylvia Fowles and Damiris Dantas. Minnesota also clinched a playoff berth with the victory. For the Sky, Courtney Vandersloot broke her own regular-season record for total assists, which now stands at 263 and counting.

Connecticut Sun 89, Seattle Storm 70

The Sun overwhelmed the Storm physically, scoring 58 points in the paint and racking up 14 steals. Seattle was 11-of-22 on three-pointers but was outscored 19-0 on fast break points. Alyssa Thomas led the way for Connecticut with 22 points and 11 rebounds.